Tuesday, June 25, 2013

From Victim to Public Offender



            Does the name Adam Lanza ring a bell? How about the “Connecticut Shooting”? He actually was the person behind the twenty dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary last year. Till today police are trying to find the motive as to why anyone would do such a thing. Research shows that he isolated himself from the world by locking himself in his windowless room playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare all day. Hmmmm…does anyone see a resemblance, or is it just me? Although I whole-heartedly agree that violent media is harmful amongst children, others might think not. In the well written essay, Violent Media is good for Kids, Gerard Jones strongly believes that violent media may not hurt children, rather, in many cases, help them. One of his supporting arguments being on how people pull themselves out of emotion traps when immersing themselves in violent stories. Another was by sharing how Tarazan helped his son to overcome obstacles in his life. Lastly he uses the example of an older girl who pushed through a tough family time by the use of rap music. Although Jones makes a persuasive argument for allowing children access to violent media, his essay lacks concrete evidence, unlike mine which prove that it is rather harmful.
            When looking at Superman from the points of views of Americans, many would say that he’s an iconic symbol justice and equality within our society. Superman himself was not an American, but from the planet Krypton (some might define him as an immigrant); still he always made the safety of the people his number on priority in life. One might think that after all he’s done for the country, he’d receive the admiration and loyalty he deserves; but instead, he was continuously shunned by society for the reason that he was different than others. So how could he possibly represent equality and justice for all when he himself isn’t getting the gratitude he so rightfully deserves? What messages are they trying to send to their young readers out there, that it’s alright to alienate someone for the reason that they are different from you? Here’s where bullying comes along.
Another thing about Superman is his identity, Clark Kent’s love interest with Lois Lane; which didn’t start off that way. After Superman saved Lois’ life several times she began to have feelings for this perfect man. But when she found out it was just her best friend all along, although they ended up together afterwards, the sudden spark between them was gone. This somewhat relates to Twilight. After all, when Bella was first introduced to Edward Cullen, he was nothing more than a biology lab partner she got stuck with. But when she found out the secret he kept behind, which was him being a handsome, immortal vampire with all these powers, a sudden attraction between them comes about.  Within days of their relationship he tells her “you are my life now”; however, afterwards (in the second book) he leaves her stranded in the middle of the woods due to the damage the relationship has caused to her (broken leg, bruises, stitches, scrapped skin, etc.). Instead of Bella keeping her independence and pride, she goes through a sudden depression, even tried suicide a couple of times. One can easily point out the obvious message brought out to its female readers from these two texts, which is that without this supernatural “perfect man” every girl envisions, then life just isn’t worth living.
One might think harmful messages are not only incorporated through comic books and electronics, but also within literary classics as well. H. Rider Haggard”s novel King Solomon’s Mines is categorized as the Adventures for Boys. Based on this concept, one can start to understand what is written within the texts, what a boy wants to hear of course; and that’s where sexism comes in. This is first brought out when looking upside down at Quatermaine’s map, which is of a female body along with the hidden message that after getting what they want, they decided to leave the treasures inside the cave, which resembles a female’s private part. Another is the superiority Quatermaine attitude towards Foulata; which is not a woman, but a fiend. The undertone of sexism is noticeably brought out through the passage; which sends an awful message to men feeling that they are superior towards women and they can get away with saying that since mean absolutely nothing.
Although Gerard Jones does not argue that children should be allowed to use physical violence as an outlet, he explicitly advocates the use of “creative violence” such as, allowing children access to comics, toy weapons, and video games that include some amount of violence or that could be used to mimic violent actions. His concluding statement says that if parents try to isolate their children from violence, the will grow up uninformed when learning how to control their rage, or know it’s even there.  I’m guessing that since he strongly advocates this using Hulk as an example, then it’ll be alright for his son to develop Hulk-like habits such as going behind people’s backs (this is symbolized as to when Bruce Banner, Hulk’s alter ego, transforms into this monster without the world knowing the person behind it) and damaging property whenever feeling anger; as does Hulk, he even has that catch phrase “Hulk Smash”. In addition, these texts were used as a backbone of my disagreement towards Jones’ belief that “Violent media is good for children.”  I am not totally against having some violent contents; I believe it is necessary to a certain degree so that kids will be aware of us not living a peaceful world after all. However, like Mahatma Gandhi, “I object to violence because when it appears to somehow do good, is only temporary; unlike the evil it does, which is permanent.”

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little confused by your post, amenah, mainly because you seem to be writing about several different topics! In addition to violent media you try to tackle the article, the novel, bullying, dependent relationships, sexism, and violence.

    First, your summary of Jones is a little bias; not only do he provide concrete evidence (his article is a summary of the findings he does with fellow researcher and psychologist Dr. Melanie Moore) but you claim to provide concrete evidence when you don't beyond your analysis of Sandy Hook, Superman, Twilight, and the novel. Finally, you acknowledge that Jones doesn't advocate the use of actual violence, so why would it "be alright for his son to develop Hulk-like habits"? If anything, he would help his son find a creative outlet for that evidence like he does the two kids he uses as examples.

    On the subject of your evidence, I don't really see how any of it supports your opinion, and I'm not really sure why you bring it up. Why not just stick with using King Solomon's Mines to support your point.

    For example, instead of trying to make the grand claim that ALL violent media is harmful, why not simply suggest that it can be harmful if unchecked, such as what happened at Sandy Hook. What kind of violence might the novel condone?

    I'm really happy to see you attack the texts so passionately, be try not to do so much all at once; take your argument one point at a time :-)

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